What happens if a typhoon hits Japan during the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

World rugby's governing body has issued information over potential disruption at the 2019 Rugby World Cup caused by extreme weather.
A general view of the Kobe Misaki Stadium, where Scotland face SamoaA general view of the Kobe Misaki Stadium, where Scotland face Samoa
A general view of the Kobe Misaki Stadium, where Scotland face Samoa

It is currently typhoon season in Japan and a tropical cyclone is en route to Tokyo, raising the prospect of cancelled games during the pool stage of the competition.

Tropical Storm Faxai - the strongest storm to hit the region for 60 years - wreaked havoc last week, killing five and injuring 40, leaving 934,000 households without power and causing more than £100 million worth of agricultural damage.

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In September 2018, the biggest storm in a quarter of a century struck Kobe - which will host Scotland's pool match with Samoa - and Osaka - where Italy will play Namibia and Tonga face off against Argentina and United States.

The Kobe Misaki Stadium, where Scotland face Samoa in their second pool match, has a retractable roof which could prove pivotal in the event of inclement weather.

Tournament chiefs are braced for disruption, with a slim chance Faxai could hit Tokyo just days before the start of the tournament.

Teams may have to be relocated from their bases, while matches could be moved to different venues - but if pool games are cancelled, both teams will be awarded two points, effectively signalling a 0-0 draw as the final result.

If pool games start, but are abandoned before half time, both teams will be awarded two points but points scored in the match, and any bonus points, will still stand.

The result will stand if the decision is taken to abandon a match during, or after, the half-time interval.

The same tournament rules apply for knockout matches although cancelled matches will be rescheduled.

That approach could have a big impact on the final standings. If big-hitters such as New Zealand or South Africa end up "drawing" with the likes of Namibia and Canada and not recording expected bonus-point victories, the final placings in Pool B could make for interesting reading.

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A spokesperson for World Rugby said: “Any pool match that cannot be played on the same day will be determined a draw with two match points each.

"However, we will be doing everything we can to ensure that the match is played in a safe environment for teams and fans.”